by Jack Watts
COMMON SENSE: Secretary of Defense James Mattis is leaving because his view of our foreign policy differs markedly with President Trump in one area—the Middle East. Mattis and Trump have worked together well to rebuild our military preparedness, which fell into disrepair under President Obama’s sequestration program. Mattis and trump have reversed this beautifully.
When it comes to our Middle Eastern policy, however, Mattis’ perspective is very different from Trump’s. With the President’s announcement that we would be removing our troops from Syria, coupled with his plan to finally leave Afghanistan, which Mattis does not support, the former general felt the need to resign.
By withdrawing from Syria, Mattis, as well as the leaders in Israel, believe that Iran will move into the power vacuum to create the Crescent Caliphate, which would include Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The power of this Shi’ite alliance would be a direct threat to Israel, to Saudi Arabia, and to world peace.
With its allegiance to Russia, this Crescent Caliphate would quickly become the dominant power in the Middle East. Recognizing this, Mattis believes this would set the stage for the USA to have to come back to the Middle East to fight another war against a much stronger foe.
Mattis is probably correct, but it is difficult for President Trump to keep U.S. troops fighting in the Middle East perpetually. Trump does not want America to be the world’s policemen, but this is a role we have been forced to play since World War II. Understandably, Americans are tired of being at war for so long—since 9/11/2001.
There are no perfect answers here. This is not a black and white issue. While I was delighted to see the end of Rex Tillerson and Jeff Sessions, I am not at all happy to see James Mattis and John Kelly leave. They are strong men, and it’s in Trump’s best interest to have leaders like them in his administration.